Nature Inspires Aviation Innovation

"Good artists copy, great artists steal"
- Pablo Picasso

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then surely it's time nature headed to the patent office.

From the earliest days of aviation, and well before that, we have looked to birds for inspiration in the design of flying machines. Continuing this eternal trend, USA Today reports on a new batch of bird and flying bug subtleties inspiring recent and new aviation innovations such as:

  • Winglets – from outstretched eagle wing tips
  • Finless (no vertical stabilizer) aircraft – birds are finless yet stable and highly maneuverable
  • Wing morphing – birds constantly change their wing shapes during flight to optimize lift and drag
  • Aircraft noise reduction – owls have special fringe feathers on the trailing edges of their wings that help them silently stalk prey

As Terry Weisshaar, an aeronautics professor at Purdue University says, "Nature doesn't have a copyright," thankfully.